What’s Next For Harry And Meghan As They Break Away To Start A New Chapter
On January 8, 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the startling announcement that they will be stepping down from their roles as senior members of the British Royal family. Breaking protocol, the couple issued their statement in an Instagram post that garnered over 1.5 million likes within the first 24 hours and apparently completely blindsided the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William. While Harry and Meghan appear to be pushing forward on their decision, the palace insisted that the move won’t be so quick, stating there were “complicated issues” that need to be worked out before anything becomes official.
Keep reading to find out where the couple will live, how they’ll make their money, and how long they’ve been planning this move while keeping it a secret from the palace.
They Didn’t Consult The Palace Before Releasing Their Statement
Buckingham Palace sources told BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond that Prince Harry and Meghan did not consult the Royal family before making their decision and releasing their statement on January 8, 2020. The Queen and palace were said to be “blindsided” by the news, a reflection of the rift that’s been made between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the rest of the Royal family.
That may have been what Queen Elizabeth II was referencing in her 2019 Christmas card when she said it’s been a “bumpy” time for the Royal family.
The Palace Admitted The Issues Are “Complicated”
Clearly there are communication issues between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the Royal family. After news of Harry and Meghan’s statement reached the palace, a spokesperson told BBC that there were “complicated issues” to work through before they were able to comment further.
The couple shared their statement on their Sussex Royal Instagram account, garnering 1.5 million likes within the first 24 hours. The palace, completely stunned by the news, watched it all unfold while deciding what their official statement would be.
They Made The Decision For Their Son
News of the couple’s departure from their senior roles follows their first child’s birth. In an interview before the couple became pregnant, Harry said that he wishes for his children to have a normal life, not like the one that he experienced growing up.
Harry told ITV, “I am determined to have a relatively normal life and if I am lucky enough to have children they can have one too. We don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good.”
The British Media Felt That They Were Owed Access To Archie
Sources close to Meghan revealed that Meghan was fed up with the media wanting to know every detail about Archie’s life and take as many photos of him as they want. She was heavily criticized for keeping her son’s christening private as the British public seem to believe since they financially support the Sussex Royals, they should have access to Archie.
TMZ reported that the source said Meghan believed being financially independent would eliminate the obligation for her to share the details of Archie’s life with the media. The couple already had lawyers draft a cease and desist letter to British media stating that they will take legal action if photos of Meghan, Harry, and Archie in Canada are published.
Meghan Was A Millionaire Before Marrying Prince Harry
In their statement, Harry and Meghan included that they wanted to break tradition and “work to become financially independent” from the palace. Before marrying Prince Harry, Meghan had a lucrative acting career as part of the lead cast in the crime TV drama Suits. She also founded a lifestyle blog in 2014 called “The Tig”.
Before marrying Prince Harry, Meghan’s estimated net worth was $4.8 million. She was reportedly making around $50,000 per episode of Suits which added up to $450,000 a year.
Meghan Spotted in Canada Boarding a Seaplane
While Prince Harry and the rest of the British Royal Family sorted out “Megxit” as many have started calling Harry and Meghan’s departure, Meghan spent time at a home on Vancouver Island, Canada. It was the same $14 million home that she spent the Christmas holiday in.
The DailyMail reported that the Duchess of Sussex was looking “happy and relaxed” on her way to visit a women’s shelter in Canada’s poorest neighborhood. Meanwhile, Prince Harry and the rest of the British Royal Family worked out the details for Harry and Meghan’s future, back in Britain.
Harry Meets Meghan On Vancouver Island
After attending to his royal duties in Britain, Prince Harry flew to Vancouver Island on January 20, 2020, to reunite with Meghan and baby Archie. They’re staying in the same home they spent the Christmas holiday in at the Mille Fleurs property in the neighborhood of Deep Cove. The home is valued at $18 million.
Their neighbors haven’t had this much excitement in the Saanich Inlet before, and have spotted the royal couple hiking with their baby, as well as visiting the local farmers’ market. It sounds like they’re settling into their new digs just fine.
Meghan’s Father is Called as Key Witness in High Court
Meanwhile, Meghan filed charges against a newspaper that published a letter that she reportedly sent to to her father, after the royal wedding. Thomas Markle, Meghan’s estranged father, is expected to appear and provide evidence against his daughter in the court case.
The court will also review text messages that were reportedly sent between Prince Harry and Mr. Markle. The context of those messages include Harry voicing his disappointment for Mr. Markle not attending their wedding, and Mr. Markle’s response, that included “I’m sorry my heart attack is… any inconvenience for you.”
Harry Didn’t Make As Much As Meghan, But Is Worth More
Meghan’s salary before their marriage was more than what Prince Harry was making while he was serving in the military. He reportedly only earned $45,000 a year while serving in the British Army Air Corps. That means his yearly salary was less than Meghan’s pay for filming just one episode of Suits.
But that doesn’t mean that Meghan is worth more than her royal husband. Prince Harry’s net worth is estimated at $40 million. When Harry turned 30 years old he also received a trust that his late mother, Princess Diana, had set up for him. On his birthday, $13.3 million was transferred into Harry’s name.
The Royal Family’s Total Net Worth Is $88 Billion
As members of the Royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex rarely have to dip into their own bank accounts to pay for their expenses. The British Royal family has an estimated net worth of $88 billion and use that to pay for the royals’ expenses. Before Meghan joined the family the palace spent an estimated $9 million from 2016-2017 on expenses for Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, according to Fortune.
In 2018 alone, Meghan reportedly spent more than $500,000 on clothes, which doesn’t include her wedding dress. Compare that to Kate Middleton, who reportedly spent $85,000 on her clothing that year. Meghan will now have to pay for her own clothes as they become “financially independent” from the palace.
What It Means To No Longer Be “Senior Members” Of The Family
In their statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex didn’t say that they would leave their roles completely but instead step back as “senior members” of the Royal family. So what exactly will change?
As senior members of the family, they’re prohibited from earning incoming in any form. So this allows the couple the freedom to make their own money. The couple will no longer live full-time in England and will scale back their event attendance, as Prince Philip did when he formally retired from his royal duties as the Queen’s consort.
Prince Harry Will Still Keep His Spot To The Throne
As the saying goes, the Royal family should always have “a heir and a spare,” one family member to inherit the throne, and another in case something happens to that person. The second-born to Prince Charles, Prince Harry is considered “the spare” with his older brother Prince William being “the heir”.
However, after Prince William married and had three children, they now fall into the direct line of succession for the throne, meaning Prince George, Princess Charlotte, or Prince Louis will be next, after William. This pushes Prince Harry to the sixth spot in line for the throne, making it highly unlikely he would ever become king.
They’re Launching A New Charity
In December 2019 it was revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had applied to trademark their Sussex Royal brand as they make plans to launch a new charity entity. The trademark included the rights to charitable fundraising, books, calendars, education, and social care services, according to BBC.
The couple applied for the trademark on June 21, 2019, the same month that they split off from Prince William and Kate’s foundation.
The Queen Banned Them From Using The ‘Sussex Royal’ Brand
After weeks of discussion, it was decided that Harry and Meghan had to discontinue the use of the brand name “Sussex Royal” since they had stepped down as working members of the royal family. The Queen and other senior officials felt it was inappropriate for the Sussex family to use the word “royal” and to profit from the title in their future endeavors.
The couple has spent considerable time and money on trademarking the brand and creating a Sussex Royal website. The name also covers their newly-established charity, Sussex Royal, The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and other items such as their popular Instagram account.
They’ll Keep Their Cottage In Windsor
In their January 8, 2020 statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explained that they plan to split their time “between the United Kingdom and North America.” The couple recently renovated the 19th-century cottage to fit their needs, costing £2.4m in taxpayer money (roughly $3,134,736 USD).
Per the agreement reached between the Royal Family and the Sussexes, Harry and Meghan will repay the cost of renovations to the cottage. They’ll also pay commercial rent and all of the costs associated with operating and maintaining the home.
Harry And Meghan Are Changing The Way They Communicate
Stepping back from their roles as senior members of the Royal family also allows more flexibility for Harry and Meghan on how they communicate to the public. The palace has strict rules banning senior Royal family members from using social media and taking on interviews whenever they choose.
Currently, journalists and media are given exclusive access to interviews with the royals. Moving forward, Harry and Meghan say they plan to take on a “revised media approach” that will allow them to “engage with grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists.” They explained that “the current system predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age.”
“I Was Born Into This Life, And It Is A Great Honor To Serve My Country And The Queen”
On January 19, Harry addressed the audience at a charity event in London. His emotional statement revealed that he had struggled with the choice to step back from his royal duties and that in order to protect Meghan and Archie from the strain of such a public life, he felt no other option.
“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” Harry said. “It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.” He continued, “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
Harry And Meghan Will No Longer Be Addressed As HRH
As part of the official family agreement announced on January 18, Harry and Meghan are “no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. As such, they will not be referred to as His or Her Royal Highness, and Harry will not be called “Prince” Harry any longer. Instead, the couple will only be referred to as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Despite the change in title, Harry is still a prince and remains sixth in line to the throne.
The Queen Said She Supported The Move As Soon As The Announcement Was Made
On January 13, 2020, the Queen held a “royal summit” so the family could discuss Harry and Meghan’s plans and decide how best to move forward. In attendance were the Queen, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles. After the meeting, Buckingham Palace released a statement declaring that the Queen supports the Sussexes in their decision.
“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” the official statement read. A “final decision” regarding the issue will be made in the coming days.
The Couple Immediately Caught Flak For Their Decision
Not everyone is on board with Harry and Meghan’s announcement to break tradition and step back from their roles as senior members of the British Royal family. Aside from the palace being “blindsided” by the news, royal experts are weighing in on the announcement, and it isn’t pretty.
Historian and royal author Hugo Vickers told BBC, “They think they can do all sorts of things together but the fact is that they’re very likely, if they’re not careful, to end up as slightly tarnished celebrities, perhaps.”
They Kept Their Plans A Secret From The Palace
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s announcement came as a shock to everyone, including the Queen, but the couple had been secretly making plans for “many months.” Their “internal discussions” were kept a secret from the rest of the Royal family, making their announcement quite shocking and unprecedented.
While Harry and Meghan included that they “fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” their first move of over-stepping the palace and announcing the change on their Instagram surely doesn’t reflect utmost respect for Queen Elizabeth II.
Their Wax Statues Were Swifty Removed
Within a day of Harry and Meghan’s announcement, the London Madame Tussauds museum quickly removed their wax statues from the Royal Family set. The General Manager of the museum commented, “Alongside the rest of the world we are reacting to the surprising news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be stepping back as senior Royals.”
Their statues will still be on display (each costing around $195,000 to make) but will not be featured alongside the rest of the Royal family, to reflect their “progressive new role within the Royal institution.”
Harry Wants To Carry On His Mother’s Legacy
Before she passed away at the age of 36, Princess Diana was known for her incredible humanitarian efforts. She made a point to leave the palace and go out and meet the people who needed help, firsthand.
Harry and Meghan plan to carry on Diana’s legacy, including humanitarian efforts in Africa. It was often speculated by royal experts that if Harry were to leave England, he would most likely take up residence in Africa. He said an interview that Africa is “where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world.”
They Plan To “Carve Out A Progressive, New Role”
Prince Harry and Meghan included in their statement that they wanted to “carve out a progressive, new role” in their “new chapter” of life. For people closely following the Royal family, it doesn’t come a surprise to see 35-year-old Harry taking a new direction.
On the 20th anniversary of his mother’s death, Harry said in an interview that he had long thought about leaving his royal duties behind. In a 2017 interview with Newsweek, Prince Harry said, “I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself.”
Harry’s Future Is Wide Open Compared To Prince William’s
Sir David Manning, the former British Ambassador to the United States said, “Prince William’s obviously got a very clear destiny.” After Queen Elizabeth II resigns from the throne, Prince Charles is next in line. Following him is Prince William, making his role in the British Royal family extremely important.
He continued, “Prince Harry’s destiny is much more open to discussion and much more open for him to decide. And so I think, although [they’re] very close and in many ways passionate about the same things… Harry’s got a field of maneuver that’s much broader.”
They Will Still Have Security Provided By The Palace
Although they will no longer be considered senior members of the Royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will still have armed security with them, provided by the Metropolitan police. Harry and Meghan (along with Archie) are considered “internationally protected people” and their security detail won’t scale down even when they’re traveling for personal reasons, rather than royal appearances.
Much like Princess Diana, Meghan has been followed and bashed by the media from the time she started dating Prince Harry, and will need protection in place. When asked about the media Meghan said, “It’s hard. I never thought this would be easy but I thought it would be fair.”
Prince Harry Struggles With Managing Paparazzi PTSD
Princess Diana was hounded by the British media both during and after her marriage to Prince Charles. The paparazzi would ultimately be the cause of her death, as the car she was traveling in crashed in a tunnel while being chased by the media. In an interview with ITV in October 2019, Prince Harry confessed that he has a hard time dealing with the media attention because of his mother’s death.
“Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash– it takes me back,” he said. “It’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.” Because of his experience, he’s also extremely protective of Meghan and the way the media follow her. He said, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
They Want Control Of Their Image
Harry and Meghan strongly believe in the freedom of the press, stating on their website that the couple supports “free, strong and open media.” They also want to control their own communications without having to go through the palace for approval. (Their news-breaking Instagram post was a good start!)
Against the will of the palace, the couple stated that they will “personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public” through their Sussex Royal Instagram account that has 10.3 million followers.
Where They Will Live In North America
Part of their announcement included that they “plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.” So where will they live in North America? Meghan is very close with her mother, who lives in Los Angeles where the Duchess grew up. But many believe that the couple may take up residence in Canada.
Meghan lived in Toronto for over six years while filming Suits, and still has plenty of friends and ties to the area. The couple also recently took their six-week Christmas break in Canada and stated that their visit was “unbelievable.” We’ll have to wait and see for the official announcement, most likely via Instagram!